Social media for photographers: the 10 worst mistakes everyone makes

The internet is awash with stories of epic social media blunders, from Tesco’s ‘time to hit the hay’ tweet the day before the horse meat scandal broke out to racist tweets that got people fired and companies discredited.

And while a single photographer is unlikely to attract a storm of abuse like McDonald’s, British Gas and JP Morgan when inviting feedback on social media, there are still some pitfalls that all photographers should avoid. In their latest guest post the photo management and Canon Project1709 experts at Photoventure share their list of the 10 worst mistakes photographers make on social media.

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Social media tips for photographers: 1. Only sharing your own content

Getting your work seen is one of the main reasons you should use social media in the first place, but if your status updates are always about your own work, it will come across as advertising rather than genuine sharing, and your followers will eventually stop paying attention to you.

In addition to your own work, share links to funny, fascinating or useful content elsewhere on the web that your followers will find interesting.

Social media tips for photographers: 2. Sharing unfinished work

People will judge you on what they saw last, so your best strategy is to keep posting your very best pictures; not your half-baked experiments accompanied by an excuse like ‘this isn’t quite there yet’.

It’s better to become known as a constant source of inspiration than a hit-or-miss amateur.

Social media tips for photographers: 3. Not interacting

Don’t let your efforts go to waste once you’ve created a buzz; silence discourages people from coming back, so be sure to reward people who comment on your content by responding and encouraging dialogue.

Social media tips for photographers: 4. Failing to reveal your personality

You’ve always been told to be professional, but that doesn’t mean you need to be impersonal. The beauty of social media is that it allows you to curate and show the sides of yourself you’d like people to see.

Clients, prospective employers and curious visitors often take to your social media feeds to see what’s behind the professional image on your website, so let down your guard and show the world that you’re a real person they can relate to; it pays dividends.

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Social media tips for photographers: 5. Having too many images on your Flickr or website

There is such a thing as oversharing, and for a photographer the main problem with a flooded social media presence is that it might dilute your brand.

It’s important that potential clients or important contacts can get an impression of what you’re really about without having to sift through 500 images of varying relevance to get the right idea.

So clean up and make sure everything you share is relevant to your brand.

Social media tips for photographers: 6. Not maximising your sales potential

Did you know that you can sell images on 500px? Or that Getty monitors Flickr and regularly requests submissions?

You might not be interested in either of these options, or they might not be relevant for your business, but you’d be a fool not to familiarise yourself with the money-making potential of the social media outlets you already use, and the ones you don’t.

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Social media tips for photographers: 7. Not checking privacy and usage settings

This sounds obvious, but many of us forget or postpone the tedious task of checking the legal bits when creating a profile on a social media outlet.

That can cost you if your work is unintentionally licensed  and used under creative commons.

Or you could end up in your clients’ bad books if the work you’ve done for one company shows up unauthorised on another company’s website.

Social media tips for photographers: 8. Tagging with typos

Creative tagging of your images can make all the difference when you want to get seen by new clientele online, but don’t make the mistake of treating your tags like an afterthought.

If you half-heartedly fire off a couple of words at the last minute, you’re likely to make spelling mistakes that will cost you the opportunity to be seen by people searching for the word you meant to write.

Instead, take your time to think, not just about the spelling of your tags but about outside-the-box tags that will make your work show up in new markets.

Social media tips for photographers: 9. Not checking your Flickr mail

Getty, magazine editors and anyone else can contact you through your Flickr mail, and it’s not uncommon that editors sift through Flickr to cover their more unusual, pictorial needs that people might just happen to have covered.

News editors work to a slim deadline and will need a fast response, so it’s a good idea to stay logged in or to make it a habit to check your Flickr mail once a day.

Social media tips for photographers: 10. Not posting comments on relevant topics

A tweet that is relevant to a current topic in the news is much more likely to get retweeted and seen by the world than a quip about your boring breakfast.

So stay up to date with the news, particularly anything that relates to photography and photographers’ rights, and comment without falling into the pitfalls of sounding bigoted, making inappropriate jokes or offending others.

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